Today I'm going to introduce a character from Brothers-in-Arms.
James is called Jimmy by everyone who knows him. He is an American pilot who flies reconnaissance missions near Germany. He is later shot down, freed by the resistance, and hidden in a basement while they try and get him and his copilot out of Berlin alive.
At the start of the story Jimmy is twenty. He's a farm boy from New York who moves to Queens with his best friend Danny when they are old enough. When Pearl Harbor is attacked Jimmy joins up to fight the Japanese as a pilot. (How and why he ends up in Germany instead of the Pacific you have to read the book for.)
Jimmy wanted to join the war with Danny and fight beside him. However, since Danny is black that didn't work out. (Danny joins the Tuskegee Air Men but I will talk about him in detail later.)
When Jimmy is shot down and taken into Berlin with his copilot, Sam, he meets Japhet who is part of the Jewish resistance at that point. Since Japhet spent years studying English he is one of the few who can talk to Sam and Jimmy and becomes a translator for them. The three strike up a kind of friendship, one which changes Jimmy's life.
Jimmy is rash and reckless. He does dangerous things on missions though he'd never put another life in danger. When he's captured and hidden away he likes to remind the Germans that he's an American and proud of it. (He likes to call them Krauts and Jerrys every chance he gets.)
If I did my research correctly, this is the kind of plane Jimmy flies with Sam
Appearance wise, Jimmy is tall. Brown haired and eyes. He used to be fit and tan, but being stuck in a basement for two years with a shortage on food naturally changes his appearance.
Though he does't like to show it, Jimmy worries about his friends and family. His sister works as a spy in occupied France and he is constantly concerned for her. (He comes from a very Patriotic family. His dad flew as a pilot in WWI and his little brother collects scrap.) Jimmy is proud of his country and doesn't handle being taken out of the war well. He likes to complain, but later uses his complaints in an attempt to cheer Japhet up. Over time he starts to look out for Japhet the same way he looked out for Danny and his little brother.
One of Jimmy's quotes from the book. Dorothy's shoes make more sense in the story
Jimmy was one of the easier characters to write in the first draft. He was fun and lightened up the mood. I knew he was important even though he doesn't come in until the third half of the book. I knew part of his story, but the more I wrote the more he grew and I realized there was so much I had to learn.
It wasn't until I went back and started filling in plot holes that Jimmy's earlier story came to light and I realized he was more complex and sadder than he first appeared. All his brashness was a cover up - you know, to hide all his pain.
I first added him to show the Americans side of the WWII story, that and I love pilots and I needed something for the end of the book. His story brought in Danny and a chance to show the Tuskegee Air Men, men who have interested me since I first heard them mentioned in school. I also got the chance to mention the resistance in France and other parts of WWII which I can't mention for the sake of spoilers.
And that, is Jimmy's character! And all the pictures that inspired him.
P.S. Anyone want to guess where I got his name?
Quote is from Unbroken.